Despite many of the preconceptions, not all disabilities begin at birth. You can develop many disabilities throughout your life, and it’s relatively common for those moving into old age to develop health problems that class as disabilities. This means that many adults in long term employment could face the situation where they develop a disability and are no longer able to do their job in the same capacity.
Under the Equality Act of 2010, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee due to a disability; this includes people who develop a disability while at work. In this article, we will provide some help and advice for those who develop a disability at work, including information on funding, adjustments and sick pay.
Five things to consider if you develop a disability at Work
Suppose you develop a health condition or disability, which means you cannot keep doing your current job. In that case, your employer is obliged to make any reasonable adjustments necessary to ensure you can continue doing that job. For example, if you develop a visual impairment, your employer must offer assistive technology to support you, including recording devices, a larger computer screen, braille documents etc.
Finding a new job
Some people decided that they cannot cope with their current role anymore after developing a disability and would rather switch to a job that better suits their needs. If that’s you, you may want to research disability confident employers who are actively searching for employee candidates like you. To find exciting employment opportunities with disability confident employers, look at the Careers with Disabilities jobs board. Developing a disability in the middle of your working life shouldn’t be a reason to stop you from working!
Access to Work
The adjustments you may need to adapt to your job after developing your disability may cause a financial burden. If your employer doesn’t cover this, you can get support from Access to Work. Access to Work can help pay for assistive technology, travel costs, emotional and psychological support and much more. To find out more, visit the government website.
Sick pay and time off
After developing a disability, you may need some time off to recover from some of the most severe symptoms, or you may go through periods of being more unwell where you are unable to work. In this instance, you may be able to take Statutory Sick Pay for up to 28 weeks. The current SSP stands at £96.35 per week, but you may be able to get more if your employer has its sick pay scheme.
Mental Health Support
Even if you develop a physical disability, such a significant life transformation can leave a person struggling with their mental health. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the new challenges you face in life, which is associated with your job. Speak to your employer about what mental health support they can provide on top of any adjustments they are making for your disability.
If you are an employer looking to support an employee with a disability, visit our employer guide today.